Politics Roundup: Elrich Goes on Housing Code Enforcement Campaign

Politics Roundup: Elrich Goes on Housing Code Enforcement Campaign

Plus: Fogleman appointed to circuit court; Hogan appoints three Montgomery County residents to redistricting commission; Leftover public election funds due Dec. 26

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County Executive Marc Elrich

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Elrich stepping up housing code enforcement

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich wants to send a message to apartment building owners that the Department of Housing and Community Affairs will be enforcing housing code regulations.

Elrich wrote in an announcement this week that he had directed the department to advise multifamily apartment building owners of changes in the housing code that expand tenant rights and require additional inspections for properties with health and safety issues, among other changes.

The law, passed two years ago, also gives the county the ability to issue citations for violations after inspections and created a list of “troubled properties” that are subject to annual inspections.

According to acting housing director Tim Goetzinger, 538 of 689 applicable multifamily rental properties, or 78 percent, have been inspected, and the county is projected to complete the inspections by the deadline of July 1.

“But that is not enough. We need to do more. Increased inspections are a staple of the updated law, but we need to do a better job of getting the word out. We need to do a better job of educating our landlords and tenants about rights and responsibilities,” Goetzinger wrote.

Elrich wrote that two years after the passage of the housing changes, he has still been hearing from constituents about health and safety issues in their apartment buildings.

“I am hearing similar concerns at my listening sessions. This cannot continue. That is why we are launching a housing code enforcement campaign. We are serious about protecting the safety and well-being of tenants, so we need to ensure that we scrutinize properties that have a history of housing code violations. Further, we need tenants to know that we are listening to their legitimate concerns and we encourage them to report violations – and we want them to know that if they choose, they can remain anonymous when communicating with the County,” he wrote.

Hogan appoints Fogleman to serve as associate judge in Montgomery County Circuit Court

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Wednesday that he has appointed Christopher Curtis Fogleman to a vacancy on the Montgomery County Circuit Court that was created when associate judge Michael Mason retired Dec. 6.

Fogleman has worked for the Rockville law firm Gleason, Flynn, Emig, Fogleman & McAfee for 30 years, and has been a partner since 1996. He has also been an assistant public defender in Montgomery County. Fogleman was one of 11 Montgomery County residents on a list prepared by the state’s judicial nominating committee, and was selected by Hogan following an interview.

Under state law, Fogleman will serve two years, and then must stand for election to a 15-year term in the 2020 general election.

Three Montgomery County residents will be among those tasked with redrawing 6th district

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday that he has appointed six additional members to the state’s Emergency Commission on Sixth Congressional District Gerrymandering.

Appointees are two Democrats, two Republicans and two unaffiliated voters. Hogan announced the creation of the commission following a federal court ruling last month that will require Maryland to redraw the district by March 7, 2019, in time for the 2020 elections.

The Montgomery County members include:

– Maury S. Epner, a Bethesda attorney, former federal prosecutor and former adjunct law professor at the University of Maryland. He is a registered Republican.

– Luis T. Gutierrez, Jr., the former CEO of the former biotechnology company Theranostics Health Inc, now Avant Diagnostics. He is a registered Democrat.

– Matthew Douglas, a senior policy analyst for the Federal Housing Finance Agency and former employee with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. He is registered as unaffiliated.

Hogan previously appointed former federal judge Alexander Williams Jr., CATO Institute fellow Walter Olson and Ashley Oleson of the League of Women’s Voters of Maryland.

Public financing leftover funds due next Wednesday

County Executive Marc Elrich and Boyds attorney Robin Ficker, his Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 general election, must return any unused matching funds acquired under the county’s new public financing system by next Wednesday.

Elrich reported more than $110,000 left over on his final campaign finance report, which he submitted last month. Ficker had more than $13,000 left over according to his final report.

Independent candidate Nancy Floreen did not use public financing because she was not eligible to participate.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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